And the review is in…for Chris Jaffe.
The categories tracked in the database are Individual Hitting, Individual Pitching, a modified Pythagorean formula, Team Offense, and Team Pitching. The first two categories rely on algorithms to measure a player’s stats in a particular year against the surrounding seasons. For hitters, Runs Created are calculated and for pitchers, Component ERA. Those stats also factor into the Team Offense and Team Pitching results, by comparing how many runs a team should have scored or allowed, compared to what they actually did.
Jaffe also factors in managerial tendencies, breaking down each man’s preferences for bunting, stealing, using his bullpen, etc. And for skippers who worked before 1965, he measures their affinity for “leveraging” starting pitchers by scheduling them to inordinately face top or bottom teams. This strategy disappeared more than 40 years ago when most teams adopted more rigid starting rotations.
The refreshing thing about Jaffe’s approach is he acknowledges the limitations of ranking managers based solely on statistics. Earlier, purely statistical, breakdowns of team leaders have come to the conclusion that managers don’t actually have much impact on a team’s record. Jaffe rejects that. “I believe managers matter,” he writes in the first chapter. “To convince me otherwise would take more than an equation, no matter how brilliant its math.”